Skeptics say that the Bible is at error because of verses that have Jesus saying that some of you standing here will not taste death until they see son of man coming in his kingdom, Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. How do we explain these verses pointed out by Skeptics? And are the disciples of Jesus wrong in understanding his return? Because he said that the day or the hour of his return is not known but we read in the book of Acts that they were expecting him to return the minute he ascended to heaven.  Jesus said in the book of Revelation that he is coming soon but it’s been 2000 so how can that be soon?


Your first question is actually a fairly simple one.  I assume you are talking about Matthew 16:28.  “Truly I tell you, some of you will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”  This is a reference to the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the coming of the kingdom (Matthew 16:17-19) at Pentecost.  Jesus predicted a number of times that the Kingdom would come with power, for example in Mark 9:1.  Surely Mark is talking about the same thing as Matthew.  In Acts 1, Jesus told his people to wait in Jerusalem for the kingdom to come with power.  All of this was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, 49 days after the resurrection of Jesus, as recorded in Acts chapter 2.  When this happened, some, but not all of the apostles were still alive, as Judas had died.  This is the event Jesus was prophesying in these passages.  Skeptics simply do not know the Bible well enough and ought to ask someone well familiar with the Scripture before making their rather weak arguments against the Bible.
It is true that the disciples and the church in the first century generally expected Jesus to come back sooner rather than later.  It is also true that the return of Jesus has taken longer than most in the early church would have guessed if we had asked them.  In Matthew 24 and 25 Jesus left the impression that he could come back at any time.  He told his followers to be ready at any time.  However, he definitely never said that he would come back within just a few years.  I believe that God left the time of the return of Jesus uncertain on purpose so that those of us who follow Jesus will always remain ready for him to come back.  Were the early Christians wrong?  Well… sort of…  They tended to assume he would come back sooner than he actually did.  But then again, this has been true of every generation of Christians since that time as well.  Jesus will come back when he is good and ready.  Like Peter said, for God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  Here we have a hint from Peter that it would be longer than most of his contemporaries thought.
It definitely does not say in Acts that they expected Jesus to come “the minute he ascended.” Where do you see that?  Are you thinking about Jesus’ predictions about the events in Acts 2?  Maybe so.  Jesus said he is coming soon in Revelation 22:20.  He may or may not be talking there about his second coming.  I think it is likely that he is talking about his second coming, but I am not sure.  However, given that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day, and given that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, I will let God decide what “soon” really means.
John Oakes

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